public law


: a legislative enactment affecting the public at large
: a branch of law concerned with regulating the relations of individuals with the government and the organization and conduct of the government itself compare private law

Examples of public law in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web He’s been implicated in covert endeavors like trying to transform a broke liberal arts college into a capitalist incubator and rename a public law school after one of the Supreme Court’s staunchest right-wingers. Nina Burleigh, The New Republic, 16 May 2023 Under her leadership, the college rose from #24 to #6 among public law schools, according to the U.S. News law school rankings. Michael T. Nietzel, Forbes, 9 Mar. 2023 Professor Johannes Chan, the chair of public law at Hong Kong University, believes the law’s enforcement will inevitably extend to other areas of citizen action, such as peaceful advocacy of what Beijing chooses to regard as subversive speech or acts. Lavender Au, The New York Review of Books, 5 June 2020 Anybody, including the news media, a police department or a citizen, can request the release of a video, though certain stakeholders can object to its release or ask for sections to be blurred, said Frayda Bluestein, a professor of public law and government at the University of North Carolina. New York Times, 26 Apr. 2021 Before entering parliament in 2017, Allan worked in the agriculture industry and has also practiced commercial and public law in several areas of the country. Byorianna Rosa Royle, Fortune, 19 Jan. 2023 Like UC Berkeley and other institutions, UCLA Law is also dismayed that the rankings discourage students from entering public law. Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2022 According to the lawsuit, the park’s police department should be required to follow Ohio’s public records law, releasing accident and other reports as required of all public law enforcement agencies. Susan Glaser, cleveland, 30 June 2022 In France, the moves to enshrine a constitutional protection could also risk polarizing the issue, says Anne-Marie Le Pourhiet, a public law professor at the University of Rennes 1. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 July 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'public law.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1531, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of public law was in 1531

Dictionary Entries Near public law

Cite this Entry

“Public law.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Legal Definition

public law

: an enactment of a legislature that affects the public at large throughout the entire territory (as a state or nation) which is subject to the jurisdiction of the legislature or within a particular subdivision of its jurisdiction : general law

called also public act, public statute

compare local law sense 1a
: the area of law that deals with the relations of individuals with the state and regulates the organization and conduct of government compare private law
: international law regulating the relations among sovereign states or nations as distinguished from private international law

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